Phenomenal Blackness: Black Power, Philosophy, and Theory

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2022.08.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Mark Christian Thompson, Phenomenal Blackness: Black Power, Philosophy, and Theory, The University of Chicago Press, 2022, 195pp., $26.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780226816425.

Reviewed by William Paris, University of Toronto

Studies in Black philosophy or Black critical theory are increasingly concerned with the distinction between Black people and Black being. Put differently, it seems there is a tension between those who want to focus on the sociological experiences of Black persons and those who aim to elucidate the theoretical coherence of Blackness as a historical category. Research into the former need not make any appeal to a theoretical category of Blackness and may even assume that there is a fundamentally universal human condition that allows us to track the diverse experiences of oppression and discrimination that Black persons encounter in an unjust society. Meanwhile, those who are interested in the theoretical coherence of Blackness do not begin with Black people as a sociological…

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